System identification of a small flexible aircraft

Harald Pfifer, Brian Danowsky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

26 Scopus citations


This paper describes system identification of a light weight, high aspect-ratio flying-wing type aircraft. For this aircraft, complex flexible structure poses challenges in correctly iden- tifying and validating the aircraft structural modes. Also, structural deformation coupled with unsteady aerodynamics in flight makes aerodynamic characterization difficult. The aircraft is identified in flight with inputs carefully selected to excite the dynamic modes of interest. In this study, the lightly damped structural modes are identified based on spectral analysis. The aerodynamic parameters are estimated using prediction error methods. The results of the estimation are validated on data at different flight conditions, as well as by comparison to subspace based black box models. A focus of the paper lies on providing useful insights and lessons learned during the flight test campaign.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624103902
StatePublished - 2016
EventAIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference, 2016 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Jan 4 2016Jan 8 2016

Publication series

NameAIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference


OtherAIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference, 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA. All rights reserved.


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